Packaging Tip: Acrobat's OCR

By CRAIG KUNCE

GOAL: This tutorial demonstrates how to use Adobe Acrobat's text recognition tool to speed up your packaging re-design process.

One of the most time-consuming tasks any designer has is re-typing all the text on the product's packaging. The same is true for a catalog, ad, or brochure.

Here's a quick tip to save you time and money. I love the text recognition tool that comes with Adobe Acrobat. What a time-saver! Here's how I do it…

 

  1. Open up your packaging (box, tin can label wrap, etc.) so it lays flat.
  2. Scan it in as a PDF. (300ppi, color or black and white) If you can't scan as a PDF, scan to a tiff, open in Photoshop, and save as a PDF.

    • TIP: Many copiers and printers now have the ability to scan directly to email and make the file a PDF. This is a nice time-saver.

    • My initial scan looked like this:
    Photoshop Packaging Tips

  3. Open Acrobat. (not Acrobat Reader, Acrobat--the full-size application.
  4. In Acrobat, click Tools
  5. Under Create & Edit click Enhance Scans
  6. Select the file you want to use
  7. Click Start
  8. Click Recognize Text > In This File
  9. Click Recognize Text
  10. If it doesn't look any different--you did it right
    It is different though… Try to select your type:
    Photoshop Packaging Tips

  11. You should be able to highlight your type (like mine, highlighted in blue above)
  12. Now copy the text and paste it where you want. Below is how mine looked once I copied and pasted it. I have to tweak it a little, but overall--pretty impressive.

    Nutrition Facts Serv. Size: 1 Can (2.5 oz/71 g), Servings: 1, Amount Per
    Serving: Calories 130, Fat Cal. 60, Total Fat 7g (11% DV), Sat. Fat 1.5g
    (7% DV), Trans Fat Og, Cholest. 25mg (8% DV), Sodium 360mg (15%
    DV), Total Carb. 9g (3% DV), Fiber <1 g (3% DV). Sugars 6g, Protein
    7g, Vitamin A (2% DV), Vitamin C (2% DV), Calcium (2% DV), Iron (4%
    DV). Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
    INGREDIENTS: COOKED CHICKEN, DRESSING (WATER, SOYBEAN OIL, DISTILLED
    VINEGAR, CORN SYRUP, SUGAR, FOOD STARCH-MODIFIED, EGG YOLK, CONTAINS LESS
    THAN TWO PERCENT SALT, MUSTARD FLOUR, SPICES, NATURAL FLAVORS, PAPRIKA,
    EXTRACTIVE OF PAPRIKA (COLOR), GARLIC POWDER), CELERY, WATER CHESTNUTS,
    WATER, TEXTURED SOY FLOUR, FRUCTOSE, GLUCONO DELTA LACTONE, DEXTROSE,
    SALT, ONION, GUM ARABIC.

  13. I pasted mine into Illustrator where I was re-designing the packaging.
  14. TIP: I notice Acrobat doesn't recognized vertically oriented type. You'll have to rotate your scanned file in Photoshop and try again in Acrobat.
  15. ALSO: I found Acrobat doesn't recognize every bit of text. It may take a little practice to get every bit of it. Still, it saved me a lot of time, especially with the nutritional label.

  16. Well Done!